Valley gets Knox, Caston draws Southwood, Pioneer to play Bremen, Culver vs. O-D, Argos gets Tri-Township
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
When the Rochester baseball team travels to Manchester on Wednesday for the game that counts in the Three Rivers Conference standings, it will be their first meeting of the year, but it will not be their last.
That’s because Rochester received a bye and drew Manchester in a Class 2A, Sectional 36 semifinal at Wabash on May 27, according to the IHSAA draw released Sunday.
Rochester was the only RTC area team to receive a bye. Tippecanoe Valley, Caston, Pioneer, Argos and Culver will all have to win three games in order to win a sectional title.
Sectionals will be held May 24-29 statewide. Tickets are $7 per session or $15 for an all-sectional ticket.
Sectional champions will be assigned to one of eight sites – LaPorte, South Bend Clay, Plymouth, Griffith, Oak Hill, Logansport, Lafayette Jeff or Lafayette Central Catholic – for a regional game as part of the new state tournament format on June 3.
Regional champions will be assigned to one of four sites – LaPorte, Lafayette, Kokomo or Oak Hill – for their semistate on June 10 with the IHSAA designating which class goes to which venue after regionals are over.
The state finals will be held at Victory Field in Indianapolis on June 16-17.
Here’s more on the draw:
Manchester has seven wins this season after winning just six games all of last season.
Their most recent postseason matchup with Rochester occurred in the 2018 sectional semifinals, when Manchester scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to beat the Zebras 2-1.
Rochester is 11-3 and the only current unbeaten in the TRC at 3-0. As for common opponents, Rochester has wins over Caston and Eastern (Greentown) while Manchester lost a doubleheader to Caston and also lost to Eastern. Both the Zebras and the Squires have wins over Southwood.
In the other half of the draw, Bremen will take on Pioneer in a quarterfinal. Pioneer is 7-5 while Bremen is 5-7, but Bremen does have a win over LaVille, the lone Hoosier North team they have seen so far.
The Bremen-Pioneer winner will play the Wabash-LaVille winner in the semifinals. Wabash is 9-5 while LaVille is 8-8. LaVille has a doubleheader against Pioneer this Saturday.
No. 5 New Prairie is the only team that is ranked in Class 3A, Sectional 18, and if Valley were to play the Cougars, it would happen in the sectional final at Newton Park.
First, Valley must beat Knox in the quarterfinal. The winner will play reigning sectional champion and sectional host John Glenn, who received a bye, in the semifinals.
New Prairie will play Culver Academy in the semifinal in the opposite half of the draw.
Valley won three sectionals in a four-year span from 2009-12, but they have not won one since.
Valley is 0-1 against sectional opponents, having lost to Culver Academy 12-2 in five innings on Tuesday.
Caston churned out a 3-1 win over North Miami in last year’s Class 1A, Sectional 52 final at Caston, and the Comets and Warriors could meet again in this year’s Sectional 52 final at Caston.
First, Caston must get by Southwood and slugging catcher Mo Lloyd in the quarterfinals. The Caston-Southwood winner will meet either West Central or North White in the semifinals. Caston knocked both West Central and North White out of last year’s sectional and also beat North White earlier this year.
In the other half of the draw, Northfield and North Miami received byes and will play each other in the semifinals.
North Miami won their only sectional title in school history in 2019 on Caston’s field.
South Central (Union Mills) came out of Class 1A, Sectional 50 and made it to the semistate last year. With the Satellites now in Class 2A, there is no reigning sectional champion in this year’s Sectional 50, which Tri-Township will host.
Culver, seeking their first sectional title in 10 years, will play Oregon-Davis in a quarterfinal. The winner will play Triton, who received a bye, in the semifinals.
Culver (2-8) does not play Oregon-Davis during the regular season. Culver starts a two-game Hoosier North series against Triton on Monday.
In the other half of the draw, Tri-Township drew Argos with the winner to meet the Marquette Catholic-Westville game.
Argos is 2-10 and seeking their first sectional title in 25 years. They have lost to Tri-Township, the school formerly known as LaCrosse, in the sectional each of the last two years. Argos and Tri-Township will also have a regular season meeting on May 13.